Golf Club Distances

Golf Club Distances – How far to hit each golf club

If you had a choice between hitting a 7 iron 170 yards, or a 5 iron 170 yards, what would it be? The majority would want to be able to hit the 7 iron because it can achieve a higher ball flight with more backspin allowing it to stop on the green faster. The key to remember with hitting irons though, is that it’s not the distance that’s most important, but rather the consistency in the distance you hit each club.

The luxury of knowing full well what distance you hit each club is much more important than being able to hit your ball further than someone else with the same club. Whatever you use for your 150 yard club, if you can do it consistently better than the golfer who does it with their pitching wedge, that’s what will lower scores. Before we get any further, it’s important to know how far you hit each of your clubs while taking a normal swing. And it’s a good idea to carry a card in your bag with each distance written down for each club, so you can refer to it.

Golf Club Distance Chart
Club Distance (yards)
Driver
200-315
3 Wood
185-285
5 Wood
170-240
7 Wood
150-215
2 Iron
180-240
3 Iron
170-230
4 Iron
160-220
5 Iron
150-210
6 Iron
140-200
7 Iron
130-185
8 Iron
120-170
9 Iron
110-160
PW
100-150
GW
90-135
SW
80-120
LW
50-100
There are advantages to increasing your distance with each respective club in your bag, and most casual, novice golfers strive to gain distance, even if it means sacrificing accuracy. There seems to be an overwhelming need to be able to hit the ball longer, and I’m just as guilty as the next guy for getting more caught up in the testosterone battle of who can hit the ball the furthest.

The golf club distance chart at the right here shows a very broad range of distances for each different club. From beginner to pro, you can get a feel for where your golf club distances fall within these ranges. Personally, my 7 iron is what I call on to hit a 165 to 170 yard shot, and then I go up and down in my bag in roughly 10 yard increments. You need to know this information as it pertains to your golf clubs. You can’t expect to score well on the course if you don’t know your golf club distances.

Maximum distance is more important with your driver than it is your irons. Irons are more about accuracy and scoring and hitting greens in regulation. Who cares what club you had to use to hit that green in regulation?

You ever read in the newspaper about the hole-in-ones? “So and so aced the 162 yard 5 th hole with a 5 iron.” What’s your first thought when you read that? I’ll be honest, I look at that and say, “they only hit their 5 iron 162 yards?” Immediately I discount the fact that they just marked down a 1 on their scorecard, and mentally penalized them for only hitting a 5 iron 162 yards. In reality, who gives a rip what they needed to hit? They got the job done, and that’s what matters on the course.

Okay, so we’ve established that it’s not as important to be able to hit an 8 iron further than the next guy, but rather being able to consistently hit that 8 iron a specific distance. And then be able to call on that club for that distance repeatedly to get the job done. But let’s just say we wanted to be able to achieve more distance with each respective club? Let’s explore.

When I was 15 years old or so, my 150 yard club was a 7 iron. As I continued playing and learning and practicing and getting stronger, my 150 yard club is my 9 iron. One advantage to this is that this means that my 7 iron is now my 170 yard club, 5 iron is 190, and so on down the line allowing me to hit irons into greens from further out than I was able to when the 7 iron was my 150 yard club. I can now reach more greens with shorter clubs, and this is the number one reason why additional distance on each of your respective irons will pay you big dividends.

Now, if you had the option of being able to hit a pitching wedge from 140 or a 7 iron from the same distance, you’d want the pitching wedge in your hand in most every instance with maybe the exception of a head wind in your face, or an obstacle like a low hanging tree limb in your way preventing a clear normal ball flight path to the green. Using a higher lofted club to hit the ball the same distance is generally preferred by most golfers because of the ability to apply more backspin on the ball to get it to check up on the green faster. Landing the ball on the green from a higher angle is the ideal.

You ever watch golfers on TV hit lay up shots into a par 5? What distance do they hit it to? Give or take about 10 yards, most all lay ups are hit to about 100 yards from the green so that they can use their sand wedge to apply ample backspin to be able to control the shot the best. You don’t see guys choosing to lay up to 150 yards on purpose. Relatively speaking, they can’t control the shot as well with a full 8 or 9 iron as they can with a three-quarter sand wedge. How do you get more distance on your iron shots?

Most beginner and novice golfers don’t hit down on the golf ball, or they take a poor or inconsistent divot. Both of these things, and other factors of course contribute to loss of distance on your golf shots. To read more on this concept, visit my golf club lofts page. Better yet, learn from a golf pro on how to Maximize your Distance and hit more consistent iron shots.

There is so much variability in the distances that two different people can hit the same club. Much is factored in to how far we hit each of our clubs. Regardless of how far you hit your golf clubs, consistency is the key. To illustrate this point, let’s visit a couple of previous Masters champions tournament winning strategies.

Remember in 2007 when Zach Johnson, who is from my home town, won the Masters as one of the shorter hitters in the field that week? There was much made of his strategy to play safe and lay up on every par 5 during the four days and not try to hit the green in two. Augusta is known for its crowd roaring eagles, especially on the back nine on holes 13 and 15, but Zach didn’t give in to the temptation to create such a roar. Instead, he stuck to his game plan, he knew that his game was much more suited for hitting consistent irons and wedges into greens and allowing his putting to win a tournament for him.

That’s exactly what happened. In the highest scoring Masters Tournament ever, Zach Johnson won the tournament that week in some of the coldest and windiest weather in the history of the tournament with a score of +1. He held off the long hitters such as Tiger Woods that week, and scored better on the par 5s that week than Tiger. Without attempting to go for the green in two on any of the 16 par 5s played that week, Zach birdied 11 of the possible 16. While Tiger going for the green in almost every situation in two, provided his drive off of the tee wasn’t in the trees, birdied only 7 with one eagle, for an overall -9 on the par 5s that week.

Do you remember how many strokes Zach won by? Just one. That two shot difference on the par 5s that week was the difference in the tournament. Zach stuck to his game plan, trusted his golf club distances, and played to his strengths. Thus proving that overall distance isn’t the determining factor, but rather consistent golf club distance is what will get the job done.

The beauty of this game of golf is that we don’t all have to mash it off the tee…as much as I think I do sometimes. Golf is a humbling game, full of highs and lows. The key is to be able to be as consistent as possible, and stay on a level keel mentally. Mastering your golf club distances to be able to trust each of your irons to deliver from every distance will no doubt improve your golf game and lower your scores.

I challenge you to invest some time on the range, and hit each of your golf clubs over and over again to get a good idea of the average distance you hit each of your clubs. Write this down on a 3×5 card and laminate it and keep it in your golf bag. And then trust this card every time. Don’t let your head get in the way of making the correct club selection. Reference your golf club distance chart when you’re on the course. If you don’t play on a consistent enough basis, you might forget what distance you should be hitting a specific club. Do yourself a favor and don’t guess. This game of golf is hard enough.

You can do this the old fashioned way, and walk off the yardage to the center of the group of balls you hit with each club. However, this is getting more difficult these days because you’ll have to find a hitting range that allows you to hit and retrieve your own shag balls.
Ball Speed Radar - Measure your ball speed for maximum distance


But if you’re serious about improving your golf scores and becoming more consistent with your game, a small investment in a Golf Club Distance Calculator will maximize your practice time, speed your improvement and get you back out onto the golf course quicker to begin putting your new found knowledge into practice. You’ll find yourself hitting more greens and having more birdie putt chances than you have ever before. Stop wasting your time and money on greens fees and carts only to be disappointed by hitting good shots that don’t pay off in greens in regulation.

The difference in carrying a bunker or a water hazard and finding that pin tucked in the back of the green is only ever a yard or two. The difference in that fried egg lie in the bunker or one stroke penalty for hitting in the lateral water hazard and the birdie putt should not be left up to chance. Frustration compounds itself on the golf course, and often destroys a golf score card. So give yourself the best chance possible and start hitting more consistent golf shots today.

The worst thing is when you make a good solid swing on a ball with good contact, only to find out you chose the wrong club and paid the price by going short or long of the green. The goal is to be rewarded for your good shots. It’s one thing to make a good golf swing, but it’s another to reap the scoring chance benefits by choosing the right club for the distance
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